How you present the start of a new tutoring endeavor to your child can make or break his or her experience. Tutors have tons of tools for starting sessions off on a positive foot. However, a positive tutoring experience starts even before the first session. Here are some of the Do’s and Don’t’s of telling your children they’ll be getting some extra help.
1. Don’t Use Tutoring as a Punishment
The decision to begin tutoring for your child may come from any number of places. Perhaps his teacher has expressed concern over an academic area. Perhaps he is having trouble completing assignments, or his grades have recently dipped. Whatever the case is, it’s important that the start of tutoring not be presented as a negative consequence for his actions. When students feel that their tutor is there as a punishment, they are much less likely to get anything out of sessions.
2. Give Your Child Some Choice
While your child may not have a say in whether she starts tutoring, there are decisions she can be part of. Maybe she will feel more comfortable with a specific gender of tutor. Maybe she would like a say in which day(s) and time(s) she meets for sessions. Giving your child some power over small decisions like these can go a long way.
3. Empower Your Child’s Learning
Bring your children into the conversation around what they need help with. Ask them where they feel like they are struggling and what is feeling hard for them. This sends the message that the tutor is there exclusively to help them. Since they are the ones who will be receiving the support, ask them what they feel they need the most help with! They might be spot on in their self-evaluation. And if they’re not, there are gentle ways of nudging them in the right direction.
4. Give Them Time to Process
You might be tempted to delay telling your child he’ll start tutoring until the last possible moment, but this is likely to backfire. The more time your child has to process, the more likely he is to come to peace with it. That means he’ll be ready, and maybe even excited, be by the time the first session rolls around. Our goal is for every student to look forward to their time with a tutor by creating a space that is supportive, challenging in the right ways, and surprisingly fun.
5. Make Tutoring “Cool”
Help remove the tutoring stigma. Just because a child receives tutoring does not mean that he or she is dumb, incapable, or otherwise deficient in some way. Some of the world’s most brilliant minds need a little extra support to reach their full potential. See if you can find one or two of your child’s friends or classmates who also receive tutoring. Show them it’s not something to be ashamed of, but a gift that will help them become their very best selves!